While the Oakland Raiders are off to their best start in a decade, the team must constantly adjust to the rigors of the National Football League. Head coach Jack Del Rio has faced some injury concerns early this season, with the loss of key tight end Lee Smith.
The Raiders decided to make a corresponding move to the injury, in order to alleviate the duties of backup Clive Walford.
On Wednesday, the team signed tight end Cooper Helfet to their practice squad. The team also cut linebacker Darnell Sankey as a part of the transaction.
After playing with the Seattle Seahawks, Helfet returns back to the team he grew up idolizing, via Doug Hendrickson of Independent Sports:
Welcome to the @RAIDERS @CooperHelfet Bay Area kid playing for the team he grew up watching! Life is good.
— Doug Hendrickson (@DHendrickson41) October 12, 2016
Smith was a staple in the blocking scheme for the offense, whose running game opens up holes for quarterback Derek Carr to thrive in. The injury to Smith wasn’t a week-to-week basis, since Smith has been lost to the IR.
Once news about Smith’s injury hit the team, the black and silver also signed tight end Ryan O’Malley.
Helfet also served as a blocking tight end in the scheme with the Seahawks. The 6’4″, 240 lbs. tight end went to Duke University and was a part of the 2014 Seahawks team that lost in the Super Bowl.
The 27-year-old was spotted at practice on Wednesday, wearing the same No. 84 he had during his tenure with the Seahawks. After being born in northern California, his potential first game could be at the Oakland Coliseum against the Kansas City Chiefs.